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Russia`s Medvedev holds Mideast talks with Abbas

Russia is a member of the peacemaking Middle East Quartet that also includes the US along with the European Union and the United Nations.



Moscow: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev
on Friday held talks with Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas
focused on efforts to kick-start stalled peace negotiations
with Israel.

Abbas told Medvedev in opening remarks at the Russian
president`s suburban Moscow residence that the Palestinians
"will always draw upon your advice and the favourable
approaches proposed by the Russian Federation."

He added that the local leadership of Jericho had decided
to name one of the West Bank city`s main streets after
Medvedev in honour of his visit there in January 2011.

"I see this as a symbol of Russian-Palestinian
friendship, which stretches back not decades but centuries,"
Medvedev said.

"This is proof of the fact that our relations remain on
an excellent level."

Abbas arrived in Moscow yesterday on the final leg of a
European tour that also saw him visit London and Berlin.
The trip is aimed at securing European backing for the
Palestinians` position amid unsuccessful attempts to resume
peacemaking efforts with Israel.

Russia is a member of the so-called peacemaking Middle
East Quartet that also includes the United States along with
the European Union and the United Nations.

Moscow`s influence in the region has waned considerably
since the collapse of the Soviet Union. But it still remains a
port of call for Arab world leaders who grew up under Soviet
patronage.

Direct Middle East peace talks have not been held since
September 2010 and the third round of exploratory meetings
conducted in Jordan on January 14 produced no tangible result.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said yesterday following
her meeting with Abbas that it was "very, very important that
we see progress, that each side sees that good will is there."

PTI

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